American Rodeo Associations

Rodeo History

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In 1929, the Rodeo Association of America (RAA) was formed, bringing together promoters and managers. They have compiled rodeo events including Cheyenne – Wyoming, Pendleton – Oregon, Calgary – Alberta, and Salinas – California.

The RAA sanctioned events, selected judges and established awards for scholarships and points systems. Their judges documented and determined champions at each event. The new organization was far from perfect. Often, the prize money was not announced as often and the judgment was sometimes unfair.


The RAA opened the first national championships in 1929. However, they did not include any women’s events. Bonnie McCarroll (1897–1929) was killed after being knocked out of the Pendleton Roundup. This tragedy started a national protest against women competing in rodeo events.

World Series

In 1934, the World Series Rodeo arrived at Madison Square Garden. The rodeo offered $ 40,000 in prizes. The World Series Rodeo promoter, Colonel William T. Johnson, had lost $ 40,000 promoting a Wild West Show in Texas six years earlier and decided to get his money back. So he rode 5 rodeos a year and hoped to win $ 1,000,000 with his $ 75,000 New York contract. So he estimated the loss of $ 6,000 a year in loans to cowboys. Johnson was not a member of the Rodeo Association of America, but his events offered more cash prizes and cowboys seemed to find his events the most enjoyable. But in 1939, William Johnson had sold all of his rodeo stock and was not present at the World Series Rodeo. Instead, he returned to livestock after completely selling off his highly speculative businesses.

In 1935, Earl W. Bascom, along with his brother Weldon, Mel and Jake Lybbert and Waldo “Salty” Ross, produced the first rodeos in southern Mississippi, working in Colombia, in the process that carried out one of the world’s first night rodeos outdoors under electric lights and bring brahma bulls to the bullfighting event. So these rodeos also featured lasso, horse riding and other current news. So Sam Hickman, from Mississippi, financed his operations, which were successful from 1935 to 1937.

CTA

In 1936, during the Boston Garden Rodeo, William Johnson refused to add entry fees to the cash prize. A group of angry cowboys formed CTA. This was the first association of competitors. They called themselves turtles because they took time to organize, but ended up standing out.

In the same year, Tex Austin, prosecutor of the West, was accused of “leaving a terrified animal” when a bullock accidentally collided with the exit gate of the arena.

In 1937, Pete Knight died after suffering internal injuries from being thrown from the “Duster” horse at a rodeo in Hayward, California. However, at the time of his death, he had more champion titles and cash prizes than any other pawn in the world.

Walter Cravens, a pawn, was thrown and trampled and died the day after a lung punctured at the World Series Rodeo in New York.

In 1939, rodeos attracted twice as many spectators as auto racing and baseball.

PRCA

In 1940, the Cowboys Amateur Association (CAA) was formed in California. Because its goal was to allow amateurs to compete and gain more experience before moving on to the RCA (Rodeo Cowboys Association). Therefore, members were forced to switch to RCA when their earnings reached $ 500. However, CAA also encouraged women to participate in drum races and other contests.

In 1945, the Cowboy Turtles Association changed its name to Rodeo Cowboys Association (RCA), which later in 1975 changed to Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA).

In 1947, movie star Gene Autry signed a contract to star in the Madison Square Garden Rodeo. And he was paid $ 1,500 a day for 33 days as an artist.

In 1948, the Girl’s Rodeo Association was founded by a group of women from the interior of Texas. Today, the organization has two sister associations, the Professional Women’s Rodeo Association (PWRA) and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA).

In 1949, the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) was formed and grew rapidly. The first College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR) was held in the same year in San Francisco, California. In 1951, the association had 41 participating colleges.

In 1955, it was estimated that there were more than 600 rodeos in the country. The Miss Rodeo America contest was organized with the first contest held by International Rodeo Management in Casper, Wyoming.

NFR

The first National Finals Rodeo was held in Dallas, Texas, in 1959. Therefore, the top 15 RCA winners at each event were invited to compete and the NFR winnings were added to the winnings on the rodeo circuit to determine a world champion. In 1960, NFR was shown on TV by CBS.

In 1961, interest in rodeo branched out further, including high school students with the formation of the National High School Rodeo Association.

NFR moved to Los Angeles, California in 1962 and later settled in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for a 20-year stay, from 1965 to 1984. However, since 1985, the event has been held at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In 1975, the National Cowgirl Museum and the Hall of Fame were opened in Hereford. It was later located in a modern and much larger facility in Fort Worth. Many of his nominees were rodeo competitors.

ProRodeo

In 1979, PRCA established the ProRodeo Hall of Fame located in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It is the only museum in the world dedicated to the sport of professional rodeo and the PRCA cowboy. The statue in front of the pawn shows Casey Tibbs riding.

In 1987, the National Circuit Finals Rodeo started in Pocatello, Idaho. The 2 main competitors in each event of the 12 regional circuits of the PRCA compete for the title of champion of the finals of the national circuit of each event. In this way, Dodge became a title sponsor in 1991.

In 1989, the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame opened at Fort Worth Stockyards in Fort Worth. Many of his nominees were active in rodeos.

PBR

With all the attention that the rodeo began to receive from the media, concerns about animal rights increased. So Friends of Rodeo was formed in 1992 as an organization to protect the rodeo. That same year, a group of 20 professional pedestrians, each of whom contributed $ 1,000, formed the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Because the organization intends to take one of the most famous events of the rodeo to an independent sport. They flourished and today the Built Ford Tough Series is a 29-city, $ 10 million tour that attracts over 100 million viewers at televised events.

In 2015, the Bull Riding Hall of Fame was created, located in Fort Worth, Texas. This hall of fame has pedestrians and bulls from PRCA and PBR. It also gathers and preserves objects and artwork from bull riding.

The term ‘rodeo’ (in Spanish, rodeo) means “to surround”, and was used for the first time in American English in 1834 to denote a “group” of cattle. The first cases of rodeo in the 1820s and 1830s were informal events in the western United States and northern Mexico, with cowboys and vaqueros testing their work skills against each other.

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